Is there anything better than holidays and traditions? Christmas trees, Santa, Hanukkah Menorahs, Pilgrims, Turkey, Lights, Cake, Candy, Diabetes, Depression, Heart attacks, Obesity. Oh, my! Yes, the holidays are wonderful, but they’re not perfect and they are downright terrible for our health.
In fact, according to a 2004 study, “The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1.”
Our most cherished holiday tradition, it seems, is not family or football or presents under the tree. It’s overindulging. Don’t get me wrong, overindulging is as tempting and revered an American pastime as exists but it involves consequences. What’s worse is the way we ignore those inevitable consequences or delude ourselves into pushing them off until next year. One study showed that 51% of all weight gained for all people throughout the year occurs during the holiday season!
Who wants to wake up on New Year’s Day sluggish and overweight? Why make a resolution because a ball drops? Why not head into the new year on a new, healthy path or, at the very least, without having gained more weight and less health? It can be done. Here is a simple 3 step plan about how to do it.
Did you know that it is virtually impossible to burn fat if you do not get proper rest? Or that 73% of American adults polled do not get at least 8 hours of sleep per night? Travel, parties, and shopping at odd hours (black Friday) can magnify this issue. You must make it a priority to get proper rest so you are able to deal with any holiday stress.
2. Reduce Holiday Stress
Stress releases cortisol, the dreaded hormone that contributes to dangerous belly fat- which releases more cortisol. And so on and so on. When did we decide that the “most wonderful time of the year” should be the most stress-inducing time of the year? It seems that the anxiety of the holidays is caused first and foremost by a simple lack of perspective. The holidays have somehow become about consumerism and appearances and, at least for some, that means accruing debt and overwhelm in an effort to keep up with the Joneses. Decide what it is you’re trying to achieve this holiday season. Get clear on it. Whatever you decide will be your guide. If you decide what you want is to connect with God and your family, then that will be your focus and it will dictate your levels of joy and stress and the decisions you make. This clarity and perspective alone can go a long way toward relieving the anxiety of the holidays.
3. Plan and Prepare
Cookies and cakes will be delivered to your office. Guests will bring all kinds of metabolism-slowing, artery-busting treats to your home. And your waistline will not be the first thing on the mind of your host when you sit down for holiday meals. Count on it! If you are going to be healthy during the holidays, you must plan and prepare for it. It may be considered poor manners to call ahead and inquire what’s on the menu, but it’s better than being a statistic!
Let’s take it a step further, you’re probably going to bring some type of food item for holiday dinners and parties, how about bringing over a fruit or vegetable plate? During holiday meals, plan to eat a single plate of food. Load it up with veggies, add a moderate amount of high-quality protein and some good, healthy fat, and, if you must go back for seconds and thirds, make it only vegetables. When you are full, leave the table! Go watch the game or play with the kids but, whatever you do, do not sit there and test your will against all those delicacies!
The holiday season, like every other time of year, is what you make of it. Cherish the season but don’t be a victim of it. Remember who you are and what it is you’re trying to achieve. And, if “not indulging in excess” sounds to you like deprivation, get someone to support you in your healthful goals and choose to “deprive” yourself of extra pounds and future illness.
Happy, and Healthy, Holidays!
Would you like to know how to overcome the challenges of keeping the weight off during the holiday season? Book a Consulation with Dr. Rendelstein today. Get information on the different types of programs available, all aimed at helping you achieve your weightloss goals.